TACOMA, Wash. – Whitworth University gave up a season-high 11 runs in the opener of Saturday's Northwest Conference softball doubleheader at Puget Sound. But Makayla Lefever responded with a two-hit shutout in the second game to give the 25th-ranked Pirates a split with the Loggers. UPS won the opener 11-7 while Whitworth won the nightcap 6-0.
The Pirates are now 20-9 overall and 12-6 in the NWC, holding on to sole possession of first place after every other school in the conference also split on Saturday. The Loggers are 9-18, 3-13 and ended a 20-game losing streak to Whitworth in the first game.
The teams will complete the four-game series with another doubleheader at Logger Field beginning at noon.
Game 1 – Puget Sound 11, Whitworth 7
The Loggers tagged three Pirate pitchers for 12 hits and eight earned runs, building a 9-2 lead through the first four innings.
Kayla Andrus went 3-4 with a home run, drove in four runs and scored twice. Leadoff hitter Kristi Nagamine went 3-3 and scored three times for UPS.
A two-run home run by Andrus, her fifth of the season, was part of the three-run first inning for the Loggers. They tagged on four more runs in the second frame. Amanda Fehr led off the second inning with her first homer of the season and Andrus added a two-run double later in the second, helping the hosts take a 7-0 lead through two.
Morgan Portlock's two-run double cut the margin to 7-2 in the third. But McKenna John added her own two-run double for UPS in the fourth to extend the lead back to seven runs.
Whitworth was able to close to within 9-7, scoring three times in the fifth and two more times in the sixth. Portlock had an RBI single and Shannon Wessel added an RBI double in the fifth. Chelsey Hayes added a two-run single in the top of the sixth for the Bucs.
But UPS put the game away with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth. Whitworth went down in order in the top of the seventh inning.
Lefever started in the circle for Whitworth and was chased after recording only one out. Nikki Olsen followed and allowed two runs on two walks and one hit in only two-thirds of an inning. Madi Perez appeared late in the second inning and pitched four innings in relief. She allowed six runs (four earned) on eight hits with five strikeouts and one walk. Lefever came back into the game in the sixth and struck out three batters. But her final line score was three runs (two earned) on three hits in 1.1 innings of work as she fell to 11-3.
Erica Gott (5-5) earned the win for the Loggers after allowing five runs (three earned) on eight hits in 4.1 innings pitched.
Game 2 – Whitworth 6, Puget Sound 0
Lefever bounced back from her rough start in the first game with a dominating performance, throwing a two-hit shutout and improving to 12-3.
Michelle Silva hit a one-out home run in the top of the second inning, her second round-tripper of the season, to get the Bucs on the board. The Pirates added three more runs in the frame as Myranda Ramirez had a two-run single and Desi Graham was able to steal home.
Whitworth added single runs in the third and sixth innings. Silva and Tessa Matthews led off the sixth with back to back doubles for the Pirates' final run.
Ramirez, Hayes, Silva and Megan John all had two hits apiece for Whitworth.
Adrus started in the circle for UPS and fell to 1-5 after allowing five runs (one earned) on seven hits in five innings.